UK

Toy pigs banned from farmyard set reinstated

Early Learning Centre's HappyLand Goosefeather Farm
Image caption The Early Learning Centre farm shows a sty being patrolled by a hen... but no pig

A children's shop has reinstated toy pigs in a farmyard set after they were removed in case they offended Muslims and Jews.

The Early Learning Centre had banished the pig from the HappyLand Goosefeather Farm after it upset some customers.

But after further feedback it decided to reinstate the pig but no longer sell the set in some international markets.

Edie Friedman, director of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, said there had been an "overreaction".

The BBC asked Muslim groups for their reaction but many were celebrating the festival of Eid al-Adha, which remembers the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his son when God ordered him to.

The farmyard set, which costs £25 and is suitable for toddlers aged 18 months, includes farm animals such as a horse, cow, sheep, dog and chicken - and creates animal sounds when buttons are pressed.

A ELC spokeswoman said the company recognised that pigs were familiar farm animals - especially amongst UK customers.

''ELC is a truly global brand, which means we need to be aware of the full range of customer expectations and cultural difference.

"The decision to remove the pig from our Goosefeather Farm set was taken in reaction to customer feedback in some parts of the world."

"Taking on board all the customer feedback, we have taken the decision to reinstate the pig and to no longer sell the set in those international markets where it might create an issue," she said.

Customers have been told they will be able to claim their pig - which was removed from sets in August - via the store's website in five to six weeks.

But Edie Friedman, director of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, said she could not imagine anyone objecting to the sale of toy pigs.

"There are animals on farms, that's the reality, that's life - it doesn't interfere with anyone's religious observance.

"These things are often done by other people in the name of minority communities without ever consulting the groups themselves.

"We need to get to real issues - how we're going to live together and build a cohesive society," she said.

The farmyard set also includes a barn, tractor and trailer - which all belong to Farmer Shepherd and his wife, Mrs Shepherd.

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